Indiana State University Newsroom

Simulated emergencies: Indiana State hosts medical collaborative

July 26, 2013

In one corner of Indiana State University's Hulman Center, a coach shows symptoms of a heart attack. Across the arena a track athlete suffers a heat stroke.

Teams of health care students from the College of Nursing, Health, and Human Services act with a combination of urgency and caution to treat the critically injured patients. Although the injuries were part of a scenario, students know by practicing such situations they will be better prepared for the real-life emergencies they will face in their careers.

"We're trying to bring various health professionals to talk about and practice how to treat emergent conditions of various phases of care," said Lindsey Eberman, associate professor of applied medicine and rehabilitation and director of the post professional athletic training program.

With the use of human patient simulators, provided by the Rural Health Innovation Collaboration, students from the nursing, physician assistant studies and athletic training programs moved through five emergency scenarios that simulated on-field care, transporting the patient via ambulance and emergency room care. The high-fidelity patient simulators can talk, blink, and breathe allowing students to practice communicating with patients. Additionally, the simulators respond to medications and administration of intravenous drugs.

Eberman said that inter-professional drills are essential because oftentimes there is a "disconnect" between health care professionals of different fields, and by working together they "gain respect for the preparation necessary for each of the disciplines."

Kelli Stoelting of Cory, Ind., understands the need for interprofessional training. After receiving her degree in athletic training, Stoelting decided to pursue a second degree in nursing. She said she enjoys working in emergency situations and hopes to one day "integrate [her] athletic training skills" into her nursing career.

Having completed health care classes in both the athletic training and nursing programs, Stoelting said "the collaboration between departments is so important" and that the interprofessional training that ISU provides continues to grow.

"I was here as an athletic trainer," she said, "and [the program] is even better now as far as the improvement and collaboration between departments."

Daniel Coffey, a second-year master's student in athletic training from Madison, Ohio, said the drill allowed each student to "shine where they specialize."

Coffey is certified and licensed as an athletic trainer and works regularly in the Physical Therapy and Sports Rehabilitation Clinic on campus. As a practicing athletic trainer, he said that the need to train for emergency situations is important, citing athlete injuries that he has witnessed in the past.

"The spine boarding scenario that we did on the football player was crucial because last year we actually had a football player go down that needed to be spine boarded. That's something you deal with a lot in contact sports."

In order to get a better understanding of treating critically injured athletes, the scenarios went beyond practicing on-field treatment. After completing all five stations, students had the opportunity to watch Terre Haute Fire Department paramedics treat the patient in transit to the hospital in a pre-recorded video. Following the video, physician assistant and nursing students entered a make-shift emergency room set up in another section of the Hulman Center where they checked the vital signs of the patient and decided on the best course of treatment.

Although these emergency drills are done bi-annually, instructors placed more emphasis on emergency room care this year, having focused more on transitional care in the past. Eberman said the drill allowed students to "get a better understanding" of treatment "from exactly when the incident happened all the way to the emergency room."

It is the combination of interprofessional training and the use of patient simulators that Eberman said gives Indiana State a "huge advantage" and sets it apart from other universities.

Coffey also thinks the opportunities given through ISU better prepare students for the future.

"Practice makes perfect and the hands-on practice is the best kind of practice, especially in the medical field," he said.

Photo: - Students from Indiana State University's athletic training, nursing and physician assistant studies program tend to a football coach who suffered a heart attack while on the sidelines of a game July 22, 2013. The "coach" was actually a high-tech human patient similar and the scenario was part of a collaborative training exercise with Terre Haute Fire Department paramedics. (ISU/Rachel Keyes)

Photo: - Staff from the Rural Health Innovation Collaborative Simulation Center join Indiana State University nursing, athletic training and physician assistant studies students in treating a cheerleader who sustained a concussion in a make-shift emergency room at Hulman Center July 22, 2013. The "cheerleader" was a human patient simulator and the scenario was part of a training exercise with the Terre Haute Fire Department. (ISU/Rachel Keyes)

Contact: Lindsey Eberman, associate professor, department of applied medicine and rehabilitation, College of Nursing, Health, and Human Services, Indiana State University, 812-237-7694 or

Writer: Emily Sturgess, media relations assistant, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3773 or


Story Highlights

From a football coach having a heart attack on the sidelines, to a track athlete with heat stroke and a cheerleader with a head injury, health care students at Indiana State University practiced a variety of real-world scenarios.

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